Register for citation alerts


Gaining vascular access in a neonate during cardiopulmonary resuscitation is crucial and challenging. Intraosseous (IO) access can offer a fast and reliable method for achieving emergency access for fluids and drugs when venous access fails in a critically ill child. IO access can however result in rare, but serious adverse events including compartment syndrome and amputation. We describe a case resulting in leg amputation due to IO infusion in a neonate after resuscitation and therapeutic hypothermia. We compared 10 tibia X-rays in three age groups.

The mean medullary diameter of the proximal tibia at the recommended site for IO access was 7 mm in neonate, 10 mm in 1- to 12-month-old infants, and 12 mm in 3- to 4-year-old children. This provides a narrow margin of safety for the correct positioning and the avoidance of dislodgement of the IO needle. The correct position of the IO needle should be confirmed by bone marrow aspiration and fluid bolus. Unnecessary touching of the IO needle after fixing it in place should be avoided by inserting a luer-lock catheter with a three-way stop-cock for IO drug and fluid administration. Regular observation of the circulation and possible swelling of the leg should be performed. The IO administration of inotropic infusions should also be avoided after the initial resuscitation phase. When treating with therapeutic hypothermia, it may be wise to remove the IO needle much earlier than the currently recommended 24 h because of the problems in peripheral circulation and its monitoring.


Suominen, P.K., Nurmi, E. and Lauerma, K. (2015) Intraosseous access in neonates and infants: risk of severe complications – a case report. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica. August 24th. .

Thank you to our partners for supporting IVTEAM